Warner Theatre

147 High Street,
Morgantown, WV 26505

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 48 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

The Warner Theatre opened on June 12, 1931 with the George Arliss film “Millionaire.”

DavidZornig on July 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

The Warner sign can be seen waaay down the street in this 1965 photo on The Hemmings Daily link.


Coate on February 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm

The tri-plexing of the Warner took place between 1973 and 1977. Does anyone have a more precise date?

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on July 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

My older brother lived on and off in Morgantown in the 80’s and early 90’s. He had a wholesale store just a block or 2 down from the warner theatre. I remember in the summer of 1990 going to see “Bird on a Wire” and “Back to the Future III” there, if memory serves, “Total Recall” was also playing there at the time. Morgantown was always an interesting town. There were (I doubt now) a lot of businesses in that one small area in 1990 and ‘91. There was a huge record store, don’t remember the name, at the top of the street where I bought Beatles cd’s and some of my very first dvd’s!

Patsy on March 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

And who is responsible for “twinning” this theatre and then making the balcony a third auditorium??

Patsy on March 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

“A wall in the middle of the main floor (Orchestra) seating divides it into two auditoriums. The former balcony is the third auditorium.” This answers my question regarding this Warner being “twinned”, but after reading this I realize it has been twinned plus one! Hope this Warner returns to a single screen venue.

TLSLOEWS on November 11, 2010 at 9:48 am

Nice photos Mint.

ChasSmith on September 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Oh, how sad. I discovered this one a couple of years ago on a return visit to the home town of my mother’s side of the family. I hadn’t been to Morgantown in years, and the presence of the Warner made an exploration of the old downtown area all the better. Didn’t have a chance to get inside, though. Really sorry to hear this.

Mintish on September 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

View link Here are the pictures that I took… :(

Mintish on September 5, 2010 at 5:31 am

The Warner is closing today, Sept. 5. :(


MFields on July 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm

As a kid growing-up in a three-theatre Morgantown, the Warner was the biggest thing in town. Legend had it that it sported the second largest indoor screen in the state (number one was the Capitol in Wheeling) and while your information lists its capacity as 1,300 seats, to these young eyes, it seemed much larger.

Eberson buffs would have had a difficult time believing that the Warner represented his work: opened during the Depression, the decoration of the auditorium was never completed. The walls were bare except for colored-glass Deco lighting fixtures along the sides; the ceiling had no decoration at all and had but a single large recessed lighting fixture. The lobby, however, was a different story. It was huge for a small city theatre, richly decorated and had a large lounge between the restrooms.

One interesting feature: just behind the top of the proscenium was a pleated curtain which hung further upstage and capped the top of the screen. I don’t know its purpose or if it was part of the design but I have not seen this “effect” elsewhere.

Several years ago I was back in Morgantown and I stopped by the Warner and walked through the lobby. The theatre is in terrible condition and I’m sure that, in line with the comments above, watching a film in its converted three auditoriums must be a horror. But it’s interesting that Morgantown’s three theatres are still standing. Further up High Street is the Metropolitan, under painfully slow renovation and between the two, the second run Morgan is still there, though it was long ago converted to other uses. Only the burned-out Strand is gone.

Patsy on August 12, 2008 at 8:06 pm

From a March 6, 2008 post: “The auditorium, itself, is decently sized and one can see where the split down the middle halved what was once a grand theater.” Yes, once a grand theater, indeed!

Patsy on August 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Would love to see the auditorium and balcony triplex configurations plus vintage photos of the interior and exterior showing the original marquee….tried viewing previous post photos to no avail.

Patsy on August 12, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Though I do wish this Warner had not been converted into a triplex.

Patsy on August 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Great photos! An art deco theatre that I hope to see, in person, someday as I past through the Morgantown area each Spring and Fall.

HowardBHaas on August 12, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I see Rob created a set, a nice entry to his wonderful photos:
View link

HowardBHaas on August 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Recent photos of facade and interior by Rob Bender:
View link
Photos show a very interesting Art Deco movie theater. They do not include the auditorium.

View link
View link

JodarMovieFan on March 6, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Yesterday, I stopped by this theater on my way north to PA. They had a Star Trek movie retrospective and showed the first Star Trek movie, which I haven’t seen theatrically in 17 years or so. The print they showed was awful. As with my very first theatrical experience viewing TMP, the movie started then stopped and appeared as if the print was forcibly moved because of something gone awry. I could hear attempts at trying to restart the film. There was no music overture as it was either skipped or missing from the print. The color faded to pink and there were many, many scratches, spotting and shifting throughout the movie, with additional new, but unwanted sound effects such as a prolonged boom during parts of the movie. The auditorium, itself, has surround speakers but either they weren’t turned on, or the movie print was so bad that they couldn’t be played. I could discern some stereo separation on screen so my best guess is that it wasn’t mono.

In spite of the aforementioned, it was nostalgic to see the veteran crew of the Enterprise in their first motion picture adventure AND I discovered one or two NEW snippets from scenes that I have never seen before. I’m going to have to view the film on DVD and on VHS to confirm this though.

The auditorium, itself, is decently sized and one can see where the split down the middle halved what was once a grand theater. There are some architectural details to your right that do date the theater but gives it character. The simple wall ornaments gave me the first impression that I was in Legoland.

The lobby is quite clean with movie posters evenly spread throughout the area. The box office and refreshment stand are combined. As you walk down a few steps, you’ll see the entrance to the right half theater. To its right, is the entrance to the balcony auditorium and to the far left is the left half auditorium. In between the entrances to the main floor theaters is an open space for arcade games and the restrooms. Across from the arcade/restroom area is the manager’s office and an inside entryway to the Carvel ice cream parlor.

Being that it was late and I was probably the only patron in the whole complex, I didn’t venture into the other two auditoriums to see what they were like. I surmise that the left auditorium is close to the same size as the one I was in. I’m curious as to what the balcony theater is like based on prior posts, its probably not much to write about. As far as any ‘ghosts’ or any apparition or strange moments, there were none unless they were fooling around with the soundtrack. I did get this sense to leave early but it had more to do with the fact I was alone in an unfamiliar area but when I did leave the place close to midnight, the streets seemed deserted and void of loiterers and riff raff.

It would be nice if the website indicated proper theater parking. I was about to park on the street but saw that the parking meters are in effect until 11pm and did not have change to feed the meter. There is a hotel lot, which I parked at but didn’t realize they had a towing warning for unauthorized vehicles.

SirSam on April 10, 2007 at 10:25 pm


This page includes three pictures of the Warner Theatre (numbers 8, 9 & 10). The last two are of the projection equipment. There is a DTS sound system installed that often does not work. Looking at the platter and its brain, it is not surprising that the picture quality suffers as well (as someone commented above).

FYI – the other pictures in the series are from Kittanning’s Cinema IV (now closed I believe), WVU’s Gluck Theater projection room and CineStar in Fulda, Germany.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2006 at 9:23 am

Here is a 1958 article from the Morgantown Post:

Con DeFere qualifies as a professional, if not a pioneer, in the do-it-yourself field that has become a busy occupation for amateurs in recent years. The regular trade of this 60-year-old Tyrone Road resident is that of movie projectionist at the Warner Theater, where he has been the senior film operator since it opened in 1931.

He was working in a glass factory when he started to learn the operation of a movie projection machine. That was in June of 1918 at the old Grand Theater on Walnut Street. Within a couple of weeks he got the job as a regular operator and has been in the trade since. The more than 40 years he has spent in that craft make him the veteran of movie projectionists in this city, and just about covers the history of movie theaters in Morgantown.

He has worked in all of themâ€"the short-lived Dixie, the Arcade (now known as the Morgan), the Strand (destroyed in the big 1927 fire), the Metropolitan, the Grand, and for the past 27 years at the Warner.

Con has received considerable practice in “do-it-yourself” theories to keep up with the many changes he has experienced in operating movie machines. There was the revolutionary change from silent to sound films shortly before 1930, and in recent years the development to Cinemascope and stereophonic sound. He helped install the sound equipment at the Warner for its opening in 1931, and before that did the same at the old Osage theater in that mining town.

He experienced one movie booth fire Friday, Dec. 13 in 1918, at the Arcade Theater where he had moved from the Grand. He had both arms burned seriously before he was able to jump from the booth.

He tried electrical contracting for a few months before accepting a job at the Dixie, a theater only old residents will remember. It was located in the building now occupied by Reiner & Core. He was there only eight months before it went out of business about the close of 1919. He moved to the Strand, where George H. Sallows was the manager, then back to the Grand, until about 1925 he began a roving period outside Morgantown.

He worked for a short time at Osage, then tried going into business for himself with a theater in Weston. That venture lasted six months before he went broke. He then leased a theater in Terra Alta with Fielding O'Kelly. After a short time he sold out his share to his partner to return to the Arcade.

Con says he had never heard a sound movie before he installed the sound system at the Osage theater, although the Met had already shown “Weary River,” featuring Richard Barthelmess, the first talkie
shown in Morgantown. Since taking a permanent seat at the Warner he also has operated a movie machine at one of the early drive-in theaters, the Oaks, that was near Cheat Lake.

Patsy on October 9, 2006 at 8:13 am

And the name EBERSON is part of this theatre’s rich history! I’m sure if John Eberson were to alive today he wouldn’t like to see what has been done to this theatre’s interior or exterior, but at least it is still standing and had NOT been demolished for another empty parking lot!

Patsy on October 9, 2006 at 8:11 am

Yes, I see the comparison in the marquee and then noticed in the larger b/w photo how the exterior looked with the ticket kios compared to today’s look which certainly isn’t the same! And where did the large vertical WARNER sign go, I wonder?

kencmcintyre on October 9, 2006 at 7:22 am

If you want to compare the marquees, there are some older photos of the theater on this page:

Patsy on October 9, 2006 at 7:18 am

Correction again….www.thewarnertheatre.com